Did you love math when you were in school?? NOT me! I was a forever member of the low math group. My GPA was consistently pulled down by math classes. In high school, I always bought my cutest notebook for math….if I was going to suffer through the class, at least I’d have something pretty for my notes!
When I became a teacher, I worried about teaching math. How could I make kids love something that I didn’t love? Would I be good at helping them understand? I didn’t need to worry after all! I can officially say that I LOVE teaching math! I LOVE teaching toughmath– the kind of math I didn’t think I would like to teach and I didn’t think first graders could understand!
Since I started teaching, math has changed a lot. There are new standards and new expectations. There are new resources and technologies. When I first started teaching, I would draw and write on a big dry erase board that was sitting on my lap (sound familiar?!) It took me forever to model a new lesson, and it wan’t very fun or engaging. I’m a little embarressed to say that there wasn’t a lot of cooperative learning, talking about math, or problem solving going on back then.
Fast forward to last year…we implemented new math standards! I teach in Pennsylvania so we have PA Core Standards, which are the Keystone State’s spin on the national standards. Although I am still teaching a lot of the same skills, I am teaching them in a totally new and exciting way! Thanks to this new way of teaching, my learners LOVE math in a way that I never did when I was in school!
One of our favorite units of the year was all about Addition and Subtraction to 100. When I first read these standards, I couldn’t believe that my little firsties were going to be able to handle such complex multi-step problem solving! We were tackling a lot of standards and objectives in this unit! Here’s a peek at my unit overview:
I thought this unit was going to be challenging, so I showed up ready to work! My firsties loved the construction theme of this unit, and reminded me every single day if I forgot to wear my hard hat! This was just a little way to make math more exciting and fun!
If you’ve read my blog posts about math before, you know I like using projectable lessons. These lessons underwent a major technology overhaul this summer, so now I like to think of them as interactive lessons. You can still project them or print them, but now you can also use them on tablet or other device. (You just need the free PowerPoint and GoogleDocs apps!)
I swear I am not tech savvy at all, so it’s sooo easy to do! Check out this lesson that I opened on my ipad mini!
All of the lessons still have all of the same components, which make them ideal for teaching the new math standards with rigor! These components help me address of the principles of math in an engaging and effective way! They are also really, really fun for kids!
Every lesson starts with a Warm-Up. This is a quick, fun activity or game to get the learners ready for math. It gets them excited to learn and helps build their math fluency. Here’s a peek at 3 of the warm-up activities from this unit:
One of my favorite lesson components in the Brain Stretch. It’s a real life application word problem that encourages learners to problem solve using multiple strategies. You can do it individually or you can solve it as a whole group. Here are 3 of the problems we solved during this unit to practice problem solving:
If you’re using these lessons on a tablet, just use your finger to write on the slides! You can draw, write, change colors and erase just like on a smart board!
The most important part of the lesson is the Pep Talk! This is when I explicitly teach a new skill and we practice together! This is a series of slides that guides students to independence. Adding to 100 is a multi-step skill, so I made up this little addition method called “Saw, Glue, Hammer!” It was like magic! My firsties really understood this strategy and remembered all of the steps. Here’s a peek at how we used “Saw, Glue, Hammer” for horizontal and vertical addition:
We even made “Saw, Glue, Hammer” tool belts to wear during math! We attached our pieces to a sentence strip and added some yarn to each side to tie them. Grab your FREE template for the tool belt pieces here.
Teaching firsties to talk about math can be challenging. To help them develop a vocabulary for math and learn to explain their reasoning, every leasson has a Huddle Up activity. This is designed for partners to talk about their thinking and explain their reasoning. Here is a peek at 3 of the Huddle Up activities from this unit:
After we turn and talk, it’s time to build our independence. Every lesson comes with a practice page and corresponing work mat. I print the practice pages in my classroom for each learner. I also project them for small groups who need additional practice so we can work together. I sometimes put the work mats inside dry erase sleeves so we can use them again and again! Here is a peek at some of the practice pages and work mats from this unit:
Every lesson also has a Cool Down or final assessment of the lesson’s objective. You can project these and use them to pull everyone back together after centers or guided math. You can also print them and use them as an “exit ticket” or quick assessment. Here’s a peek at some of the Cool Down acivities from this unit:
One of my favorite things about these lessons is that they are super easy to organize! I just print the slides for every lesson (I like to print them as “handouts” with 6-8 slides per page.) I keep them all in a unit binder so I can see every component of the lesson in one glance. I print the practice page as a full size paper so I can easily copy it.
If you want to learn more about this unit, click on any of the pictures or here! I hope these lessons make you feel inspired to teach and LOVE math!
If you still have more questions about using these lessons with your learners, here are some FAQs to help. You can also download free lessons for decomposing 2 and addition using a number line if you want to try them out!
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